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romatherapy Materia Medica

(Abies alba and other species)

© Kathi Keville, Mindy Green
 (Excerpted from Aromatherapy)

The balsam fir, better known as the "Christmas tree," is native to northern Europe. "Fir" essential oil is distilled from the twigs or needles of many different firs, and even from spruces, pines and other conifers.

Family: Pinaceae
Extraction: Distilled from needles. The odor is fresh, soft, forestlike.
Medicinal Action: Fir soothes muscle and rheumatism pain, increases poor circulation, inhibits bronchial, genital and urinary infections, and reduces asthma and coughing.
Cosmetic/Skin Use: Sometimes used for skin infections.
Emotional Attribute: Fir combines the senses of being grounded and elevated. It increases intuition, and releases energy and emotional blocks.

Associated Oils:
Canadian Balsam (A. balsamea) --The oil, distilled from the oleoresin, is sweet and balsamy with a distinct Christmas-tree smell, making it one of the favorites of all firs. The tree grows and is distilled in North America.
Siberian Fir (A. siberica) --This carries an especially invigorating fir scent.
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) --Often sold as fir, the hemlock tree is sometimes confused with the poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), which Socrates was compelled to drink.
Pine (Pinus species) --Pine, especially Scotch pine (P. sylvestris), is used in cleaning solutions, European bath preparations (it increases circulation) and liniments. Apathy and anxiety are replaced by peacefulness and invigoration when pine's sharp fragrance is sniffed. According to Dr. Daniel Penoel, pine-especially P. sylvestris-is used to treat male impotency.
Black Spruce (Picea mariana) --The stimulating, fresh scent treats muscle spasms, adrenal insufficiency and fatigue.
Terebinth (P. palustris, etc.) --This is turpentine, or resin from pine sap. For medicinal use, a much higher grade than paint thinner is used to treat body parasites and infections, and as a disinfectant. It is sometimes called "pitch pine."

About The Author
Kathi Keville has studied herbs since 1969. Her attraction to fragrant plants led to an involvement in aromatherapy. Her other books include Herbs for Health and Healing;......more
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